Santa stopped by the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter in San Luis Obispo on Sunday, distributing some of the gifts that have been donated by the community. For many of the homeless people that live there, they say these donations made all of the difference this holiday season.
“It’s been great – the food is great, people are really nice and they’ve been giving away presents. I got [the] jacket [I’m wearing] as a gift,” says shelter resident Peter Herrera.
“I never knew that the shelter did this for the kids – they did a like a whole toy giveaway for them a couple times which they got really great gifts and I’m really grateful for the people that donated everything,” says Kayla Menna who lives at the shelter with her children.
But because they are homeless, everything they own still must fit in their tote boxes, as the shelter is typically not open all day like they are for Christmas.
“We’re closed during the day and open during the night so it’s the one day that they can come and not have to worry or stress about where they’re gonna be all day so they can just come, relax, eat and be with happy people,” explains Staff Lead, Orlando Flores.
Now with donated gifts like fresh socks and jackets, many of the residents here say they feel prepared to face the new year.
“I didn’t know that people were that generous and that there was other help that the homeless shelter here actually helped with; it kinda opened up me a little bit more to more help and furthered our chances of getting into our [own] place again,” Menna says.
For information on how you can help the shelter with donations, click here.